Concerning Women

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other staff.


How do environmental factors contribute to the onset of depression?


I am not sure if you mean the social environment or the physical environment, but both certainly can contribute to the onset of depression.

The social environment can effect the onset of depression through stressful events (such as loss of a loved one) which may precede a first episode of depression. Stress related to physical illness is connected to depression. Also, drug and alcohol abuse is correlated with depressive symptoms.

Family history seems to play a role in the onset of depression, with children of depressed parents having over two times the likelihood of developing depression.

The physical environment can play role in depression, but since individuals vary in their response to environmental factors it is hard to sort out cause and effect. Scientists are still trying to sort these complex sorts of factors out.

For further information visit the Depression Department.


Deborah G. Alicen, Ph.D., is a private practice psychologist who lives in Plainfield, Vermont--a transplanted Southerner who still can't say "cows" the way real Vermonters do. She has spent the last twelve years working mostly with children, adolescents, and adults recovering from sexual abuse and domestic violence.


Please help support our SelfhelpMagazine mission
so that we may continue serving you.
Choose your
support amount here: